Predicting 2018's biggest tech happenings -- and will Amazon buy Target?


"Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods 470 stores along with testing of the Amazon Go retail concept is evidence that Amazon sees the future of retail as a combination of mostly online and some offline", Munster said.

Alyssa Julya Smith: What exactly, Gene, would Amazon be getting from Target?

But according to industry analyst and Loup Ventures co-founder Gene Munster, Amazon isn't finished with its conquest of the traditional retail space. "What they're doing with Whole Foods is a big tip of the hand" indicating that Amazon sees its future as a mix of mostly online and some offline.

Munster pointed to what he called shared demographics among the two major retailers and the "manageable but comprehensive store count" of Target, which would give Amazon physical locations across the country from which it could operate.

As for when this might happen, if it does, Munster said, "Getting the timing on this is hard, but seeing the value of the combination is easy".

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The e-commerce juggernaut spent the past year building its brick and mortar base, seizing Whole Foods Market's 470-store portfolio and piloting its own book stores, grocery trucks and warehouses.

In his report, Munster backed his suggestion of Amazon taking over Target by saying the timing will be hard but "seeing the value of the combination is easy". Target shares rose as much as 3.7 percent Tuesday in NY, while Amazon gained 1.6 percent. Year-to-date, AMZN has declined 0.00%, versus a 0.31% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period. Amazon has aggressively pursued moms through promotions around Prime along with loading Prime Video with kid-friendly content.

Department store Myer also made a bid to compete with Amazon with its online marketplace the Myer Market, a venture that allows third party vendors to sell on Myer's platform in exchange for a sales commission - mimicking the model used by Amazon Marketplace and Ebay. Despite gaining Whole Foods, Amazon's ~470 store presence still dwarf's Walmart at 11,695 (global). This suggests the retail stock could be overdue for both upgrades and further price-target hikes.

Of course, Amazon would have to make it past the Trump administration's review of a Target acquisition, and Trump is no fan of Bezos and his newspaper The Washington Post.

"Amazon has to chew and swallow before it can really take another bite of anything else", she said. Last month, CFRA bank analyst Ken Leon wrote that he foresees the Internet company buying a small- or mid-sized bank in 2018.